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Week 5, 2016: Gameday Thread

Wanted to try something different today, so let’s see how it goes. I will be posting gameday reactions today in the comments here, and I invite you guys to do the same. Write about whatever you want — emotional reactions, interesting observations, statistical questions, whatever — in the comments below. I’ll do my best to respond to each of them.

  • Adam

    Great idea, Chase. The game thread at FO trends to generate a lot of response, but their comment system is antiquated so I don’t bother with it. Since you use Disqus, we’ll actually know when someone replies!

    • Agreed! Let’s see how it goes.

    • Richie

      The lack of reply notification there has been my main complaint for a decade.

      Now I also hate how their ad network locks up my browser.

      • Adam

        Yeah, I’ve emailed Aaron several times asking him to consider installing a reply notification system, and he always says he’s too busy. And I have the same issue with their ads crashing my browser. It’s a shame, because FO has some great writers and interesting content, but their site functions like it’s from 1998.

  • Adam

    I’ll start by saying I’m probably the only person on the planet who enjoyed Thursday’s Cards-Niners game. I actually like ugly football, and would prefer a slop-fest over a zero defense affair like the 52-49 Giants-Saints game from last year. I hate it when one side of the ball completely dominates, and in today’s NFL that’s normally the offense.

    Blaine Gabbert should not be starting in the NFL. He was terrible in Jacksonville and he’s still terrible in San Francisco. It was bizarre listening to Phil Simms effusively praising Gabbert and making constant excuses for him; seems like Phil REALLY doesn’t want Kaepernick to get another chance. I wonder why that could be?

    • Thanks. I actually didn’t have a chance to watch the game, so I can’t say much. Was Gabbert really any worse than Stanton? Feels like Special Teams was the huge driver in the game, at least according to EPA.


      • Adam

        No I don’t think Gabbert was worse than Stanton, they were both equally inept. The special teams EPA swing was mostly a product of SF fumbling the 2nd half kickoff and giving ARI the ball in the red zone. That, and a batted ball INT at the end of the first half really turned the game in Arizona’s favor. Despite scoring 33 points, the Cards offense was stunningly bad outside of some nice runs by David Johnson.

    • I’m one of the ones who hated the first half. I’m a defense first guy, and I grew up playing DE and DT, primarily, do you’d think I’d like the Thursday night crap fest. But I thought it was just awful. Low scoring games are fun when it’s great defense driving the low scores, but when the low score is a product of JUCO level play from the offense, it’s not the same.

      And yea, both QBs were so cringeworthy for most of the game. The highlight for me was David Johnson. He’s the real deal. He averaged 1.4 yards per carry more than Stanton had per pass.

      • Adam

        Yeah David Johnson was the only offensive player for either team that played well. He’s definitely a top five RB at this point. Even for someone who just said he likes ugly games, I’ll admit the first half was a bit dull. I’d rather see sacks and interceptions than a parade of punts. This was bad offense more than great defense, but I still don’t mind this type of game as a break from the usual.

  • Sammy Coates just burns Marcus Williams for a 72-yard TD on 3rd-and-7. Nothing fancy, just ran a go route and didn’t come close to covering him. Jets pass D is really bad, and without Revis, it’s probably hopeless.

  • Adam Vinatieri with a 54-yard FG, his 4th of the year. That’s insane.

    • And another 53-yarder, giving him 5 50+ yarders in 5 games.

      • eag97a

        I’m in that school of thought that AV os a first ballot HOFer. If any kicker deserved that distinction AV should be it.

  • Lions are up 14-0 at home against the Eagles. Stafford is 6/8 for 71 yards, with 2 TD throws to Theo Riddick. Eagles have only had one drive so far.

  • Not a good start for Houston: the missed field goal came after getting the ball at the MIN 38 thanks to good special teams: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f78757bc8e27468937ab903c160fa80e9911505bfb42f477fe3b75a424db7e54.png

    Not much so far from Osweiler or Miller: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0687e408f49888f78a8218d2a3d51ffb78c069279f1b38ec0ca0da37d87427ac.png

    • Adam

      The $37MM guaranteed that Houston threw at Osweiler is looking like a mistake so far. Brock is showing the same weaknesses he had in Denver, namely staring down his first read and having very poor pocket presence. Second time in three games Osweiler is under 5 YPA on 40+ pass attempts. Not enough Hopkins can make this guy look good.

      • Richie

        Who didn’t see that coming?

        • sacramento gold miners

          While Osweiler has been disappointing, it’s way too early to pull the plug. He showed promise in Denver, and this may be a case where both the Broncos and Osweiler would have been better off reaching a deal.

          • Richie

            Normally I would agree. But the fact that Denver let him walk without already having a QB told me they didn’t think he was any good.

            Though at the time I had no idea who Trevor Siemian was. So maybe Denvers decision had more to do with faith that Siemian was at least competent for way less money. But then why did they draft Lynch?

          • Adam

            The Broncos offense has been better this year with Siemian than it ever was with Osweiler. I don’t think Denver would be better off if they had kept him, and frankly I don’t think he showed much promise. He had a few nice moments, but overall he always struck me as a guy who has glaring flaws at the NFL level.

          • From Houston’s standpoint, I agree. The Texans gave Osweiler way too much money to do anything but endure this stretch. Maybe he turns it around, but I don’t see how Houston can pull the plug anytime soon on him. Maybe they bench him if he struggles, but they would have a $25M cap hit next year if they cut him.

  • Fitzpatrick nearly throws another end zone interception, but Marshall wins the battle. Steelers DB Ross Cockrell was in great coverage, and had his hands on it, but Marshall stole the ball for the TD.

  • Sam Bradford is 11/16 for 154 yards and a TD. And with Stefon Diggs out. Thielen (3/4, 66 yards), Wright (3/3, 25), and Patterson (3/4, 30).

    Is this small sample size, Bradford finally becoming a good QB, Bradford was always better than we thought, or Norv Turner magic?

    • Richie

      I’m more concerned about where Rick Spielmans genius came from. He never showed it in Miami.

    • Adam

      I had the same thought. Maybe Bradford’s weak supporting cast and coaching carousel really were holding him back. I’ll wait until the season’s over to draw any conclusions, though.

    • James

      I think Bradford is finally healthy *and* has solid receiving weapons at the same time.

  • Marcus Mariota is 10/14 for 104 yards with 2 TDs against Miami, and 3/34/1 on the ground.

    • Richie

      Miami is not good at football

      • Adam

        Their defense has regressed and the Ryan Tannehill experiment has run its course. I think MIA should draft a first round QB next year.

  • Is there some AFCCG hangover? Gostkowski has missed from 39, 48, and now 50. Missed 3 FGs all of last year. Small sample sizes and random kicker variation make it hard to know, but any Gostkowski miss feels rare.

  • Brady is a crisp 22/31 for 330 yards and 3 TDs, with 0 sacks. Hogan has 114 receiving yards, Gronk has 72, and Martellus Bennett has 3 TDs. Meanwhile, Edelman has “only” caught 5 of 10 catches for 35 yards. This offense has the potential to be pretty scary.

    • Richie

      On red zone channel, Scott Hansen is getting orgasmic over Brady.

    • Adam

      Funny how Gronk suddenly looks healthy. He must have broken like seven tackles on the 34 yard completion down the right sideline.

  • Todd Bowles had a bad punt early in the 4th quarter. On the road, big underdogs, trailing 24-13 with 13 minutes to go, 4th-and-inches, and you punt? I don’t care that you’re at your own 29. How else are you going to win?

    But that was the appetizer. Next, Bowles punted on 4th-and-2 at the 46 with 7:36 to go, down by the same score. The Jets still don’t have the ball back. It’s now 1st-and-goal at the 2 minute warning.

    • After punting, the Jets next possession began down 18, with 1:46 to go.

      • Richie

        Don’t blame Bowles. It was the players’ fault for not being able to stop Roethlisberger, Bell, Brown, Coates and James.

        • Adam

          I still blame Bowles for not even giving his team a chance with stupid coaching decisions. Sure they probably would’ve lost anyway, but you never know.

          • Richie

            I suppose I did not do a good enough job indicating sarcasm.

            • Adam

              Or I did a poor job of detecting it.

  • Adam

    Joe Flacco was a mediocre QB before he signed his first mega contract. Since then, he’s been one of the worst starters in the league. For a guy who has such a big arm, his Y/C has been pathetic this season, and his Wyatt Earp INT rate from his early career appears to have regressed back to normal. When he’s not drawing DPI penalties, Flacco is the most impotent “franchise QB” in the league. That four game stretch in the 2012 postseason looks like one of the biggest flukes in history now.

    • Not sure if I’m willing to go that far, but it is definitely ugly now. Then again, how much is to blame on his supporting cast?

      Let’s say you are supposed to average 7.0 yards per targets (which is probably low, but whatever). Here is how his targets did today, in ascending order: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2663670a3961fe95c3b6c6c4a2d508f67579bf2e2ff5c6ff0fe80d9a2cb7fe61.png

      • Adam

        I grant you that Flacco’s supporting cast isn’t helping, but he has played quite poorly in three of the last four seasons. Since 2013, there have been 23 quarterbacks who’ve started at least two seasons worth of games. Joe Flacco ranks 22nd in ANY/A+, ahead of only Blake Bortles. I honestly don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Flacco is one of those worst starters in the league.


        • James

          I don’t think it’s a stretch either – he’s certainly in the bottom tier of longterm starters, which is particularly concerning for someone at the end of the typical prime age!

          • Adam

            Right? Most QB’s have their peak from 28-32…yet that’s the age range where Flacco had been terrible. I don’t think he was ever a good or even average QB, but early in his career the Ravens defense carried the team and he wasn’t asked to do much. Now that Flacco is being forced to throw it 40 times a game, it’s obvious that he’s not up to the task of carrying an offense.

  • Adam

    Weird to say as a Broncos fan, but I’m really hoping San Diego can shake off their bad luck and make a playoff run. Philip Rivers has poured his guts into that team for a decade and he deserves better. Same with Brees in NO.

    • Yeah, can’t blame Rivers for all of SD’s problems. Worth looking into how much bad ‘luck’ he’s received.

    • I guess as of 2013, things weren’t so bad for Rivers: http://www.footballperspective.com/expected-quarterbacks-wins-based-on-passing-efficiency/ And 2014 was probably dead even. Since then, tho, eek.

      • Adam

        Yeah, the last year plus has been brutal for Rivers. I also think he’s been unlucky to play for a franchise with incompetent ownership and management. Dean Spanos strikes me as a cheap, egotistical idiot.

      • Adam

        I missed that post three years ago, very interesting. Would you be up for running an updated version after 2016 is done?

  • Richie

    What’s more surprising, Dallas hammering Cincinnati or Atlanta in control of Denver?

    • Good question.

      The Dallas D is pretty bad, right? In 2014, it ranked 22nd in DVOA. Last year, it ranked 19th. Through 4 weeks, it ranked 23rd.

      So shutting out the Bengals is shocking, though now Cincinnati has scored two TDs after going punt, punt, punt, punt, missed FG, punt on its first six drives.

      Atlanta’s offense dominating in Denver *is* really impressive; I’m less impressed with them handling Lynch and the Denver O. That said, that game is no longer a blowout, either. Well, it just ended: 23-16, Atlanta.

      • Richie

        I didn’t see any of the second half. Did Denver ever pose a legitimate threat?

        • Not really.

        • Adam

          It was 23-6 late into the fourth before Denver scored 10 garbage time points. The Falcons pass rush appeared out of thin air today, although Paxton Lynch being very tentative certainly helped Atlanta’s cause.

  • This is cool. Wish I had noticed it earlier in the day.

    Anyway… very Jeff Fisherian sequence near the end of Bills-Rams. With a little under six minutes left, down seven points, he chose to kick a 22-yard field goal to pull within four instead of going for it. Without even looking at the numbers, I’m going to declare that the wrong move. Then when the Rams got the ball back, now down four, he tried a fake punt on 4th-and-3 from his own 32-yard line with a little under four minutes left. The Bills were clearly ready for it and stopped it fairly easily. Fisher has pulled off some nice trick plays on special teams before, but I think now everybody watching the game is anticipating it — including the other team.

    Also, a somewhat interesting scenario later in that game. The Bills had the ball on the Rams one-yard line up four with 2:37 in the game; the Rams had two timeouts left. It was second down and the Bills’ running back got stuffed for -2 yards, and the Bills got called for illegal formation. If you’re Fisher, do you accept the penalty and move them back three more yards, even though it will give the Bills another down (giving them another chance to score or run more clock/force you to burn another timeout if they don’t), or do you decline it and try your luck on 3rd-and-goal from the 3? Fisher went the former, which is defensible, but I think I go the latter. Tyrod Taylor threw a touchdown on the next play making the entire discussion moot and essentially icing the game